NEW PHILADELPHIA  – The board of directors of the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District has begun the search for the next executive director, retaining Waverly Partners as its executive search firm.

Board President Joanne Limbach and the four other board members will work with Waverly Partners to identify qualified local, regional and national candidates.

"Our board, along with MWCD staff, has developed a position profile with the experience and leadership characteristics of our preferred candidate," Limbach said. "We are open to executives with backgrounds in parks and recreation agencies, conservation-focused organizations, other kinds of nonprofits, private sector entities or other related experience.

"A candidate with a commitment to our mission of responsible stewards dedicated to providing flood reduction, conservation and recreation in the Muskingum River Watershed is a priority," added Limbach.

The position profile is available on the MWCD website at

John Hoopingarner, the MWCD’s executive director since 1989, has announced his plan to retire in the Spring of 2020.

Prior to his appointment as executive director, Hoopingarner served as legal counsel to the MWCD for 10 years while in the private practice of law in New Philadelphia.

"It has truly been an honor to provide leadership to the MWCD," said Hoopingarner. "We are a unique organization dedicated to providing the benefits of flood reduction, conservation and recreation in the Muskingum River Watershed. Every day of my career has been both challenging and rewarding. It has been a privilege to work along-side a staff of responsible stewards so dedicated to our mission."

When Hoopingarner succeeded Raymond E. Eichel in 1989, he became only the third person to lead the MWCD in its 86-year history. Bryce C. Browning was its first chief executive officer from 1933 until his retirement in 1965.

For more information about the search, contact search consultants Heidi Milosovic and Eric Peterson at

The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District is a political subdivision of the state, organized in 1933 to develop and implement a plan to reduce flooding and conserve water for beneficial public uses in the Muskingum River Watershed — the largest wholly contained watershed in Ohio.

Since construction, the 16 reservoirs and dams in the MWCD region have been credited for saving over $13.1 billion worth of potential property damage from flooding, according to the federal government. They have also provided popular recreational opportunities that bolster the region’s economy.

A significant portion of the reservoirs are managed by the MWCD and the dams are managed for flood-risk management by the federal U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

For more information about the MWCD, visit and follow the MWCD on Facebook and Twitter.